I am often inspired by other bloggers and their strategies and tools to support themselves and their children.
She went about this process through a brilliant course of self-reflection, thinking about what she needed and what worked best for her in her home environment.
It is a great read.
Shortly after the Navigator was diagnosed on the autism spectrum and we better understood the impact of visual, aural, tactile stimulus on him, we similarly decided to redecorate his room, to make it a more peaceful, calming place for him.
His room decor was a left-over from when he was a baby, all pale blue and yellow, with designs that reflected his dad’s and my tastes, not necessarily the Navigator’s.
It did not have enough storage space for his toys, clothes, books, etc., which meant it was frequently chaotic and messy because there was no “away” in which he could put things.
His room was failing to be a comforting retreat for him.
The Navigator’s dad came up with a streamlined design that would increase the storage, give the Navigator work space, and be easier to keep neat. We showed the design to the Navigator and he liked it very much.
The design essentially relied on organization of the Navigator’s closet, and also using the same closet organization tools for shelves on the walls, a built-in desk (gotta love melamine!), and a bed that included storage.
We got rid of a lot of toys that were broken, not being used, or that he had outgrown. We were aiming for all of his toys fitting in the drawers under his bed.
The hanging laundry bag component of the storage system was used to store stuffed animals.
Before we could redesign the room, however, we needed to repaint it. I took the Navigator to the paint store and let him choose whatever color he wanted.
He picked a lovely dark teal which turned out to be a very calming, restful color.
The curtains were made out of sleeping bag material (two layers of material with fiberfill between them). They were amazing insulation against the cold and thoroughly light blocking.
We added new doors over the closet to block out the activity of the colors of the clothing, and we built a partition around the open space above the closet to use the area for additional storage.
The room still got messy – he was a kid after all – and I used strategies to help him clean it up. With a place for everything to go, it became a lot easier.
The next step was to turn the space under his desk into a sensory retreat. We got a nightlight that illuminated the entire area under the desk, and he was thinking he would like something TARDIS themed to complete the space.
But in the end it served as “Jurassic Park” – an out-of-the-way staging area for all his dinosaur toys and role play – and he was happy.